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Tent cities considered for Austria’s refugees

Austria’s interior ministry says that it is no longer ruling out tent cities for refugees. On Thursday, the ministry told the Austrian Press Agency that the number of refugees has "massively" increased in the past few weeks.

Tent cities considered for Austria's refugees
Asylum seekers outside Traiskirchen. File photo: APA/HELMUT FOHRINGER

It called on Austrian aid organisations to help organise accommodation.

The number of asylum applications would increase by 50 percent this August, according to the ministry. "The humanitarian catastrophe in the Middle East is reaching Austria in full force," said ministry representatives.

Last week, there were 610 asylum applications and another 127 applications just on Wednesday this week, they said. The majority of the refugees came from Syria.

So far, tent cities had been rejected, but they could no longer be ruled out, said the ministry. Churches, aid organisations and Austria's other provinces were called on to help.

Austria's primary refugee centre in Traiskirchen, about 20 kilometres south of Vienna, has been hopelessly overcrowded for over a year. In June, around 1,300 asylum seekers were living in the centre in Traiskirchen. The upper limit for the centre is 480 people.

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Tell us: What was your experience like dealing with Vienna’s MA35?

The office for immigration and citizenship in Vienna is for many immigrants their first encounter with Austrian bureaucracy. We want to hear from you about your own experience dealing with officials and the process.

Tell us: What was your experience like dealing with Vienna's MA35?

Vienna’s MA35 is a well-known office for immigrants in Austria, particularly those who live in the capital. It has received plenty of criticism for long delays, mistakes and even mistreatment of those seeking services from renewing a visa to applying for Austrian citizenship.

Yet, it is an integral part of life for immigrants and their family members, as the office is responsible for residence permits (from visas to the Anmeldebescheiningung for EU citizens), naturalisation applications and more. In short: there is no escaping it.

So, we want to hear from you: What has been your experience and importantly do you have any advice for others?

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